DUST OFF THAT BAG

dooney-and-bourke-hobo-bag-black-516956 A few days ago, I was slouching on the bed early in the morning and subjecting my thoughts to The Father when I suddenly noticed a hand bag belonging to my wife neatly tucked in the shoe rack. This is the first time I was paying attention to the location of bag. It is a black, mid-sized, Dooney and Burke hand bag (women will understand the fashion value), and I remember that my wife spent a little bit to acquire this a few years ago. She carried it everywhere and it was probably one of the most precious functional day-to-day fashion asset for her at some point. Today, it is displaced and finds itself among the shoes gathering dust.

Right there, The Father shifted my attention to the bag and as common with Him, taught me within a flashing second what the bag represented in my life. How did such a prized bag, still in a great condition, end up in the wrong place and become unattractive and unnoticed? Something else took its place. Obviously another possession was acquired and all of a sudden this one lost it place and fell out of favour, even though it retains it actual value for which it was initially acquired. What is even more interesting is that the bag has no tears or marks of depreciation.
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THE LIFE IN CALABAR – AN INCONSEQUENTIAL SHORT STORY

I drove out of the airport at about 7:15pm local time on Sunday and was mindful not to cause any delays on the exit lane from the parking lot. The parking receipt had slipped through the space between the drivers seat and the fancy hand rest. I struggled to squeeze my fat fingers through to where the coloured paper rested, while keeping the car in motion because there was a convoy of government officials trailing. I was driving a rental car, a small mini sedan which I often drove home from the airport instead of taking the light rail into town and hissing at every stop of the 45 minutes journey home. Luckily, my dear friend Esther was manning the final exit gate and she simply waved me on and reminded me “Bros Bee, I’m still waiting for the trip oh!”. “I will call you”, I shouted in response. Call her fire! Ever since I met her at a restaurant in town and told her of my weekend getaways with my wife and friends to Ibeno beach in Akwa Ibom State, she begged me to take her family along the next time I went. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to pitch that to my wife.

The 1km road from the airport terminates at the ‘Welcome to Calabar’ roundabout, a massive landmark which unites three major expressways leading to the major districts in the city of Calabar. Beautifully constructed and well maintained, I usually take a deep breath when I get to negotiate around it, reminding me why I love this town. At nights, the dancing streams of water shot from powerful nozzles are coloured by underground lights, and quite spectacular to behold. The water acrobatics from the concentric pools move with the rhythm of the local Efik percussions. At Christmas, tourists are usually treated to some elaborate water displays while driving into the city. As I drove off on the second exit, I noticed that the three or four buses behind me were parking off by the service lane of the first exit, which led to the Government Hill. I guess they wanted to take a few pictures and selfies as evidence of visiting Calabar.
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EBOLA: CLOSER HOME THAN YOU THINK?

The Short Nosed Fruit Bat
The Short Nosed Fruit Bat

Sometimes, when an outbreak of this kind happens we tend to stand off and wonder how the crazies bridged this zoonosis. We never imagine that its origin might be as close home as the Liberian scenes seen through our TVs. However, given that the available best evidence is that Ebola is a “naturally occuring” (endemic) illness among tropical fruit-eating Bats, we might want to be more worried and become even more proactive in dealing with the probability of a standalone outbreak in Nigeria…Yes! Even from Lagos.

For those who have lived in or frequented Lagos Island, particularly the circumference covering Obalende, Race Course, Marina, and Tinubu Square, you should have noted the huge population of the Lagos Fruit Bats. They droop off the high metal railings at Race Course, as well as the huge Almond trees at CMS besides the Lagos State Library building. As a teenager living on the Island, it was usual practice for me to observe the dusk flight of these Bats. At about 5pm everyday, the lower skies of the area is blanketed by thousands of flying animals, echolocating food aggregates.

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Rethinking Pride – For Disciples Only

Adolf-Hitler

  • I’m reposting this because after a recent discussion, some folks wanted me to post it again so they could find it. So here. I have also updated it a bit.

We use the term pride so often that I think we have thoroughly watered down its definition and by extension its implication as well. I am not talking about what many call positive pride, which I think should be given a better description anyway, but I am referring to the negative pride here.

When people make reference to themselves unduly, we call them proud simply because they have tried to highlight their abilities to the disgust of others, for whatever reason. We also make judgments on people about pride from what we see in their appearance or in their actions. I particularly do not like seeing men who wear conspicuous jewelry as I tend to think they are acting like peacocks and attracting too much attention. I would normally call that a form of pride and write off such persons as lacking in self control and hence proud as well. What error. Even though I still do not believe men should wear jewelry (in my infantile opinion), except for their wedding bands or watches (if that is even necessary), but those bling bling by no way or measure tell the state of a man’s heart.

In the same vein, we are quick to point out a proud man by his actions or by his speech. Some people are very conscious of how many times a person uses the first person pronoun in a given conversation or speech. Especially in religious institutions where there is a higher consciousness of character, one becomes sensitive to those who do not ‘humble’ themselves after those preconceived notions of humility.
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FROM THE HEART OF A TIRED NIGERIAN…

tired manI am tired but I don’t know why

Even when I try to figure out why

I find myself getting tired of the try

I just sit and watch hoping time will fly

And that this generation will just pass by

I am daily fed with what does not satisfy

The music, the movies, and the celebrity style

The news, the novels, and all the preaching seem awry

Yes, I feel all these and the deceptions therein should all die

Perchance, I might find a tabula rasa to write again. Sigh!

I certainly feel I want to cry

Because I want something new to buy

I do not doubt that I am probably a troubled guy

But my trouble is getting overwhelming or should I lie

That everything everywhere irritates me that I can’t deny?

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I like to learn from the stories between the crags. It’s my kind of thing; the story behind the story. For every story told, particularly ones crafted for public consumption, there remains the untold part, and these, for me, usually forms the main ingredient for the successes or failures that are portrayed to us. This is why I like Malcolm Gladwell’s writings. He’s an explorer willing to unravel the finer details that seem too trivial for story tellers to bother about. What is obvious is usually a perfect mix of unspoken words and inactions combined with the revealed to produce the stories that we rejoice or disregard.

Once I hear of or read a story, I immediately begin to find other parts of that story not reported. This is in particular to stories of mess ups, downfalls, disgrace, and the likes. People usually do not willingly plot a path to failure or severe dishonour. Such circumstances arise from a series of bad decisions and choices for which alternatives were ignored and advice was hissed at. For this reason I seek to always find out what was ignored on the path to dishonour.

I remember when I experienced an epic fail in a relationship as a young man in my 20s. I was cultured, disciplined, spiritual, and kind of a role model for younger folks in my family. I never believed that such stupidity could befall a person of my standing. I felt invincible as it had to do with relating with the opposite sex. I was warned by two separate persons, who called me aside and asked probing questions. I flushed my answers down their throats, bouncing the questions off me as if to tell them “can’t your eyes see how pure this is?” Well…I got bitten and it was quite terrible. It was a fall from grace. Grace grassed me like some will say. Or was it my foolishness that did? In this light, I like to learn from broken people; folks who have crashed small or big time. I call it feeding from the thrash.
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BOKO HARAM WAS FOUNDED BY SANUSI???

boko-haram-map

Sorry the title is misleading. I just needed your attention. It’s not spelt Sanussi. It’s Sanusi.

Now that I have it for a few minutes, let me share this.

Last year, I hosted a guy in my office who had just returned from a one year posting with the Joint Task Force Operation in Borno State. I knew him quite well, having worked with him the previous year on some community based issues.

He appeared in the office with his official uniform, something close to the camo worn during the operation desert storm. He however looked quite frazzled and I asked what the matter was to his surprised that I noticed. I eventually discovered that he had gone through a lot in the heat of the battle against the Boko Haram insurgents.

Wanting more evidence on what he had gone through, he brought out his phone and proceeded to walk me through horrifying pictures of absolute carnage. He suddenly looked like a ghost to me because I couldn’t imagine how he managed to survive such intense fighting. He said to me something like this “Oga, we kill them, kill them, kill them tire.” When I asked how many Nigerian military men he had seen killed in action, he admit that several were killed but because they were more equipped, Boko Haram usually suffered heavier losses during battles. He noted that a lot of these insurgents were not Nigerians but from Niger and probably Chad.
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PLEASE READ THIS LETTER – DEJOBBED, BEWIFED, AND MUCH CHILDRENISED

As my pseudonym reveals, all things Calabar excites me. I literally go digging historical documentation to find something about my beloved city. Being a city that has a visible coloration of colonial foray, I literally drool over stories of the days when Efik men paraded themselves as the official mediators between the White man and black man.

I first came across this letter on an amazing group on Facebook called Nigeria Nostalgia. As hilarious as it seems, it opened a window into the years when the English language was separating the men from the boys in our colonial society. I recently came across it again while reading through other letters on the website called Letter of Note, and thought I should share the actual letter and also repost the transcript for those who might not be able to read the actual letter.

The letter was written in 1929 by a guy called Asuquo Okon Inyang to a government official in protest of his dismissal from work for laziness. His choice of words are quite hilarious, and I wonder if these words were actually permissible at the time.
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SOMEONE WANTS YOU TO CREATE SOMETHING

Top BoyHave you met some folks who seem to have no drive to do anything? I knew a guy like that. He used to live across my grandma’s house in Lagos. Every morning, he stood bare-bodied on the exit corridor of the multi-room compound and stared at people going to work and traders jostling the streets. At this time I was  home taking care of my grandma and working at my dad’s Law Chambers, which was also in the same building where grandma lived. In the evenings, this 30-something year old guy would dress up and go hang out with friends at adjoining streets, doing nothing but having loud conversations.

Lagos Island was littered with such young men, guys coming from somewhere but seemingly not going anywhere. From Campbell street to parallel streets like Igbosere, Bamgbose, Tokunbo, to sides streets like Ricca, Odunlami, Joseph, etc with a fearsome population, these were the boys of the area (I use that because the term Area Boys have become quite derogatory. These boys however were not all illiterate and dangerous). I spoke with a lot of them, and we interacted on the make-shift football pitches all around the corners of the Brazilian Campos Square.

These were disillusioned young men with raging hormones, freelance street politics and sports commentators, football/table-tennis/snooker playing, Ewa Agoyin and Agege Bread eating, boys tired or bored with school work. They constantly searched for the slightest and easiest opportunity to make money, then run to Mandilas corner off Broad street to buy the latest Italian baffs and prey on gullible feminines of their kind. Some of them ended up popsie-ing five kids from five different women.
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